|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : zdc|
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zdc|
tracon : iad
tower : hum
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Experience||controller non radar : 2|
controller radar : 5
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||oversight : supervisor|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : unspecified|
On sun morning, 10/88, at XA00 local, iad detail arrived in leesburg and were met by 2 center controllers who set up and configured the radar scopes, flight data processing and frequencys for dulles approach. I would like to state now that what happened during the next 5 hours was unsafe. This is why I'm using this form to report the incident. On 11/sun/88 there are plans to do some more maintenance on our radar using a similar arrangement as in the past. The following are reasons why the operation was unsafe: to begin with, air traffic at dulles has increased five fold since 1981 and although there are some slack moments, scheduled traffic has forced our facility to modify airspace, create new flow patterns and expand the number of radar positions from 4 to 8. At ZDC only 2 radar positions were available. The center equipment was unfamiliar to terminal controllers. The targets are computer generated, the a/north's use different symbology and the sep standards are different than terminal operations. No effort was made to train us prior to working live traffic. The 2 radar positions used could not be configured properly. Automated handoffs on the departure/high altitude sector could not be made significantly increasing workload for both radar and handoff controllers there are dulles, national and bwi. At times incorrect tracks were affixed to aircraft on frequency. There were also some center sectors with whom iad detail could not coordinate. Flight strips were not available at the departure/high altitude sector forcing frequent flight plan readouts. There was much confusion as to who was going where! The radio communications were unsatisfactory causing many problems and complaints from pilots. 126.1 and 123.9 MHZ were used--the transmitters and antenna located at the center. The video map provided for our use was unsuitable for terminal operations. Vectors, clrncs to climb/descend were issued west/O reference to a detailed dulles terminal video map or MVA map. We were virtually working from memory! The C/a program, designed for use in en route traffic, was a major distraction as it was used in terminal operations. At any given time as manyas 4 to 6 targets flashing in conflict mostly because iad detail was told they could use 3 mi sep and visual sep. This is unusual because the center has to use 5 mi sep with the same radar. The above problems taken individually are serious enough to create close situations, but taken all together, in my opinion, constitute an unsafe operation. Suggestions: there is far too much traffic at dulles to take the radar down during the day. Even though it would mean working at night for the radar technicians, lights could be used. Do this maintenance on a midnight shift, preferably from sat night to sun morning. During this midshift give the airspace above 10000' to ZDC. If a controller is to be detailed to the center, give him or her sufficient training or OJT prior to working live traffic. Also, properly adapt the equipment, automation, provide detailed terminal video maps and improve radio communications equipment. If management opts for a non radar operation for the 15 to 30 operations that occur during that slow shift, then redelegate airspace to the center accordingly and create valid non radar procedures. Note: for over 3 yrs dulles has not had valid non radar procedures since 2 major airspace designs. Supposedly there is a back-up radar, cenrap, that microwaves the center radar to us. The hardware is in place, but management chose not to use it because dulles controllers were not trained in its use. It is ironic that they would send iad controllers to the center west/O proper training to work busy traffic with only 1/4 the number of radar positions! I really don't put much faith in the possibility of corrective action. For too long, air traffic controllers have been forced to do more with less because of the can do attitude of management. I question the judgement of those involved in the decision to go with this operation. This situation could occur again in 2 weeks if steps aren't taken to improve safety. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter stated that this incident/situation took place in oct with plans for it to be repeated in nov. In the intervening 2 weeks, the facility worked on the cenrap (digitized center radar information is transferred to iad approach control via telephone lines) and by the time the next antenna shutdown occurred, the traffic was worked at iad using the cenrap. This did not go very smoothly either, but only because the cenrap equipment had to be fine tuned and everyone trained in its use and limitations. That has now been accomplished.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: APCH CTL WAS WORKED FROM 2 CENTER DISPLAYS WHILE APCH CTL RADAR WAS SHUT DOWN FOR MODIFICATION.
Narrative: ON SUN MORNING, 10/88, AT XA00 LCL, IAD DETAIL ARRIVED IN LEESBURG AND WERE MET BY 2 CENTER CTLRS WHO SET UP AND CONFIGURED THE RADAR SCOPES, FLT DATA PROCESSING AND FREQS FOR DULLES APCH. I WOULD LIKE TO STATE NOW THAT WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE NEXT 5 HRS WAS UNSAFE. THIS IS WHY I'M USING THIS FORM TO RPT THE INCIDENT. ON 11/SUN/88 THERE ARE PLANS TO DO SOME MORE MAINT ON OUR RADAR USING A SIMILAR ARRANGEMENT AS IN THE PAST. THE FOLLOWING ARE REASONS WHY THE OPERATION WAS UNSAFE: TO BEGIN WITH, AIR TFC AT DULLES HAS INCREASED FIVE FOLD SINCE 1981 AND ALTHOUGH THERE ARE SOME SLACK MOMENTS, SCHEDULED TFC HAS FORCED OUR FAC TO MODIFY AIRSPACE, CREATE NEW FLOW PATTERNS AND EXPAND THE NUMBER OF RADAR POSITIONS FROM 4 TO 8. AT ZDC ONLY 2 RADAR POSITIONS WERE AVAILABLE. THE CENTER EQUIP WAS UNFAMILIAR TO TERMINAL CTLRS. THE TARGETS ARE COMPUTER GENERATED, THE A/N'S USE DIFFERENT SYMBOLOGY AND THE SEP STANDARDS ARE DIFFERENT THAN TERMINAL OPS. NO EFFORT WAS MADE TO TRAIN US PRIOR TO WORKING LIVE TFC. THE 2 RADAR POSITIONS USED COULD NOT BE CONFIGURED PROPERLY. AUTOMATED HDOFS ON THE DEP/HIGH ALT SECTOR COULD NOT BE MADE SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASING WORKLOAD FOR BOTH RADAR AND HDOF CTLRS THERE ARE DULLES, NATIONAL AND BWI. AT TIMES INCORRECT TRACKS WERE AFFIXED TO ACFT ON FREQ. THERE WERE ALSO SOME CENTER SECTORS WITH WHOM IAD DETAIL COULD NOT COORDINATE. FLT STRIPS WERE NOT AVAILABLE AT THE DEP/HIGH ALT SECTOR FORCING FREQUENT FLT PLAN READOUTS. THERE WAS MUCH CONFUSION AS TO WHO WAS GOING WHERE! THE RADIO COMS WERE UNSATISFACTORY CAUSING MANY PROBS AND COMPLAINTS FROM PLTS. 126.1 AND 123.9 MHZ WERE USED--THE XMITTERS AND ANTENNA LOCATED AT THE CENTER. THE VIDEO MAP PROVIDED FOR OUR USE WAS UNSUITABLE FOR TERMINAL OPS. VECTORS, CLRNCS TO CLB/DSND WERE ISSUED W/O REF TO A DETAILED DULLES TERMINAL VIDEO MAP OR MVA MAP. WE WERE VIRTUALLY WORKING FROM MEMORY! THE C/A PROGRAM, DESIGNED FOR USE IN ENRTE TFC, WAS A MAJOR DISTR AS IT WAS USED IN TERMINAL OPS. AT ANY GIVEN TIME AS MANYAS 4 TO 6 TARGETS FLASHING IN CONFLICT MOSTLY BECAUSE IAD DETAIL WAS TOLD THEY COULD USE 3 MI SEP AND VISUAL SEP. THIS IS UNUSUAL BECAUSE THE CENTER HAS TO USE 5 MI SEP WITH THE SAME RADAR. THE ABOVE PROBS TAKEN INDIVIDUALLY ARE SERIOUS ENOUGH TO CREATE CLOSE SITUATIONS, BUT TAKEN ALL TOGETHER, IN MY OPINION, CONSTITUTE AN UNSAFE OPERATION. SUGGESTIONS: THERE IS FAR TOO MUCH TFC AT DULLES TO TAKE THE RADAR DOWN DURING THE DAY. EVEN THOUGH IT WOULD MEAN WORKING AT NIGHT FOR THE RADAR TECHNICIANS, LIGHTS COULD BE USED. DO THIS MAINT ON A MIDNIGHT SHIFT, PREFERABLY FROM SAT NIGHT TO SUN MORNING. DURING THIS MIDSHIFT GIVE THE AIRSPACE ABOVE 10000' TO ZDC. IF A CTLR IS TO BE DETAILED TO THE CENTER, GIVE HIM OR HER SUFFICIENT TRNING OR OJT PRIOR TO WORKING LIVE TFC. ALSO, PROPERLY ADAPT THE EQUIP, AUTOMATION, PROVIDE DETAILED TERMINAL VIDEO MAPS AND IMPROVE RADIO COMS EQUIP. IF MGMNT OPTS FOR A NON RADAR OPERATION FOR THE 15 TO 30 OPS THAT OCCUR DURING THAT SLOW SHIFT, THEN REDELEGATE AIRSPACE TO THE CENTER ACCORDINGLY AND CREATE VALID NON RADAR PROCS. NOTE: FOR OVER 3 YRS DULLES HAS NOT HAD VALID NON RADAR PROCS SINCE 2 MAJOR AIRSPACE DESIGNS. SUPPOSEDLY THERE IS A BACK-UP RADAR, CENRAP, THAT MICROWAVES THE CENTER RADAR TO US. THE HARDWARE IS IN PLACE, BUT MGMNT CHOSE NOT TO USE IT BECAUSE DULLES CTLRS WERE NOT TRAINED IN ITS USE. IT IS IRONIC THAT THEY WOULD SEND IAD CTLRS TO THE CENTER W/O PROPER TRNING TO WORK BUSY TFC WITH ONLY 1/4 THE NUMBER OF RADAR POSITIONS! I REALLY DON'T PUT MUCH FAITH IN THE POSSIBILITY OF CORRECTIVE ACTION. FOR TOO LONG, AIR TFC CTLRS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO DO MORE WITH LESS BECAUSE OF THE CAN DO ATTITUDE OF MGMNT. I QUESTION THE JUDGEMENT OF THOSE INVOLVED IN THE DECISION TO GO WITH THIS OPERATION. THIS SITUATION COULD OCCUR AGAIN IN 2 WKS IF STEPS AREN'T TAKEN TO IMPROVE SAFETY. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR STATED THAT THIS INCIDENT/SITUATION TOOK PLACE IN OCT WITH PLANS FOR IT TO BE REPEATED IN NOV. IN THE INTERVENING 2 WKS, THE FAC WORKED ON THE CENRAP (DIGITIZED CENTER RADAR INFO IS TRANSFERRED TO IAD APCH CTL VIA TELEPHONE LINES) AND BY THE TIME THE NEXT ANTENNA SHUTDOWN OCCURRED, THE TFC WAS WORKED AT IAD USING THE CENRAP. THIS DID NOT GO VERY SMOOTHLY EITHER, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THE CENRAP EQUIP HAD TO BE FINE TUNED AND EVERYONE TRAINED IN ITS USE AND LIMITATIONS. THAT HAS NOW BEEN ACCOMPLISHED.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.